AK Steel Comments On Kentucky Legislative Proposal To Aid Industry

Middletown, OH, March 08, 2004—AK Steel (NYSE: AKS) said it strongly encourages the Kentucky General Assembly to enact legislation sponsored by Senator Charlie Borders authorizing the Economic Development Cabinet to grant tax incentives that could aid a $65 million modernization project for its Ashland Works and for other Kentucky manufacturers.

AK Steel indicated that, if the proposed incentives are approved, the company would commit to proceeding with the project, which is necessary to help preserve the viability of the cokemaking, ironmaking and steelmaking units, or the front-end of the Ashland Works. The project would enable the Ashland Works to produce higher quality steel products destined for the company’s value-added customer base, primarily automotive and appliance manufacturers.

The major components of the project include a vacuum degassing facility associated with the steelmaking shop, and a modification to the continuous slab caster. If the project is finally approved, the equipment could be operational in 2005.

"We are extremely grateful to Governor Fletcher, Economic Development Cabinet Secretary Gene Strong, legislators in both the House and Senate and the Ashland community for the tremendous support they have given us as we evaluate the future of the Ashland Works," said James L.Wainscott, president and CEO of AK Steel. "Senate majority caucus leader Charlie Borders and House majority floor leader Rocky Adkins have worked tirelessly to help ensure Ashland Works continues to be a significant employer and economic contributor to the Commonwealth of Kentucky," Mr. Wainscott said.

The company said it would also seek the support of the United Steelworkers of America (USWA) and Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical and Energy International Union (PACE), which represent hourly production and maintenance employees at the Ashland Works, to help the company return to a sustainable level of profitability.

According to a study conducted by the Kentucky Cabinet For Economic Development, the Ashland Works is responsible for a total annual economic impact of more than $200 million to Kentucky, based on direct and indirect wages, benefits and taxes. The steel plant is a major supplier to Kentucky manufacturers and purchases millions of dollars worth of supplies each year from other Kentucky businesses.

Headquartered in Middletown, Ohio, AK Steel produces flat-rolled carbon, stainless and electrical steel products for automotive, appliance, construction and manufacturing markets, as well as tubular steel products.